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How and When are Punitive Damages Awarded?

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The top punitive damages awards in California were collected from a recent year. They included $125 million against Catholic Healthcare West, $21 million against Jehovah's Witnesses, and $18 million against Union Carbide, to name a few. While many of these verdicts may have been appealed or argued later on down the road, they serve as a great example of what an individual can recover when seeking punitive damages.

So what exactly are punitive damages? They are damages that a defendant can be ordered to pay as punishment for certain conduct. These damages can be awarded in addition to a personal injury verdict or other compensatory damages. An individual must be found guilty of some type of oppressive or malicious act against a plaintiff. Fraud is also considered grounds for pursuing punitive damages. These damages are awarded as a way to punish the defendant for their acts.

Typical Cases that Involve Punitive Damages

In order to receive punitive damages in a case, a plaintiff will need to prove with substantial evidence that the defendant engaged in malicious or cruel conduct. Without the right proof or presentation of your case, you may lose out on the punitive damages you deserve. That is why having a skilled attorney on your side is crucial.

Some of the most common cases that involve punitive damages include:

  • Car accidents involving DUI
  • Sexual assault or abuse claims
  • Wrongful termination claims
  • Business fraud claims

Not all cases will be eligible for punitive damages in addition to compensation for necessary damages. You will need to build an effective case to prove the requirement of punitive damages as punishment for a defendant. Punitive damages can be a great tool for holding parties responsible for their actions and ensuring they never commit such heinous acts again.

Have more questions about pursuing punitive damages in addition to general compensatory damages? Contact our firm today!